Beef production accounts for a tenth of global emissions and significantly accelerates global warming. This is what the respected think-tank the Danish Council of Ethics said after it recommended a red meat tax hike to tackle the “ethical problem” of climate change.
The council considered whether it should be the ethical choice of the consumer to buy “climate-damaging” foods like beef, or if the government should impose regulation on red meat to reduce the environmental impact.
A large majority of the council members said they believe Danes are “ethically obliged” to change their eating habits for the good of the planet. However, many fear this will not be effective enough and suggest regulation on beef is necessary.
Sending a message
“For a response to climate-damaging foods to be effective, while contributing to raising awareness of the climate challenge, it must be shared,” said Mickey Gjerris, chairman of the council. “This requires society through regulation, to send a clear signal.”
This, the Danish Council of Ethics, said was “necessary” to ensure Denmark kept its commitment to the historic Paris climate deal by keeping global temperature rises below two degrees.
Tax to extend beyond beef
In the long term the think tank suggests a tax should extend not just to beef, but all climate-damaging food items but said short-term a tax on beef makes the most sense.
This was because arguments suggest it is healthy to maintain a nutritious and healthy diet without red meat.
The Danish minister of taxation was not available to provide comment on the think tank’s recommendation.